Clickbait ad creative is engineered to intentionally drive clicks through psychological means via sensationalistic text or imagery.
How Clickbait Impacts User Engagement
Clickbait Trends in 2022 & 2023
Clickbait has long been a familiar phenomenon to nearly everyone who engages with digital media. Having recognized the power of clickbait, cybercriminals, fraudsters and wider advertising entities now aim to shock, scare, and emotionally manipulate online users through sensationalistic ad creative. Fake celebrity endorsements, outrageous claims about medical and financial products, sexually suggestive images, misleading messages– all are current staples of clickbait.
56% of publishers have identifed clickbait on their sites.
Manufacturing Emotion: Social Engineering
Clickbait employs a number of effective cognitive tricks to get clicks. Emotional manipulation gives actors the upper hand in an any online interaction. Clickbait taps into the most impulsive emotions including: Fear, excitement, curiosity, anger, guilt and sadness.
67% of publishers say they’ve seen a significant or great number of deceptive ads including clickbait
Social engineering is a manipulation technique that exploits human emotion. In cybercrime, “human hacking” lures unsuspecting online users into various online advertising frauds. Social engineering uses psychological manipulation to trick users into willingly navigating to unverified pages, fraudulent schemes and malicious scams.
Emotionally-charged creative has proven to be an effective low-tech way of luring users to listings of fraudulent or non-existent products, financial schemes, phishing scams, propaganda, and other low-quality landing pages. And it frequently looks just innocuous enough to evade creative scanners and publishers’ in-house quality controls.
A particularly potent clickbait campaign
can look from a distance like simply a high-performing campaign, opening the door for it to spread more widely through the ad ecosystem.
100% of publishers said brand suitability means hosting ads that are relevant to the audience and site or app content.
Take Action Against
Clickbait Ads Now
Publishers should consider these best practices to monitor and eliminate clickbait:
Publishers should document their values, goals, and criteria for relevant advertising and brand suitability. This documentation will allow them to efficiently identify unwelcome ads.
Ad content should be vigilantly monitored and evaluated in real time to ensure that no violations occur.
Publishers must ensure that ad creative accurately represents landing pages, and that page content aligns with their message and brand.
A publisher’s own team is best equipped to evaluate the subtleties of clickbait and other unwelcome ads.